SEEMS THAT WE AS A BREED HAVE BECOME VERY LAX
in our show ring riding and showmanship etiquette.
Because we have an "easy" riding horse, it would appear that
a vast majority of us have become overly "relaxed" in the
appearance of our horses and ourselves as a finished show ring ready
team. Here are a few aspects of proper equitation and some helpful tips
to help you achieve the best possible results for oyu and your horse
once you hit the show arena.
with the seat. You should be sitting balanced and centered in your saddle
with your spine straight but in a relaxed, not overly stiff manner.
you sit too stiffly, your horse can feel this and many horses become
nervous and fidgety when confronted with an overly stiff, non-flexing
rider. You should never, under any circumstances, present your horse
in a manner that is painful or uncomfortable to him. I see many people
being told to "lean back" in the saddle. It is erroneously
believed that this leads to better overreach and collection. THe truth
of the matter is that when you lean back, you thrust your legs forward
and change. Tis usually results in the horse hollowing his back and
sticking his nose up in the air in an have inflicted on his loin. The
next thing you know, you have a charging and unruly horse because he
is more interested in relieving his pain than working with you as a
issue that I see many problems with is the placement of the rider's
legs and feet. Feet should never be thrust
forward! If at any given time you can look down and see your toes forward
of your knees, your feet are too far forward! A good exercise to practice
is to ride
as you normally do and glance down every few minutes and check the position
of your feet. Make a concious note on how your leg feels in the saddle
when it is held properly. Soon you will know the correct position of
your leg by the way it feels alone and will not need to glance at where
your toes are. Your shoulder, hip, back of calves and heels should line
up in a straight
line vertically. Unless you have exceptionally large feet (size 15+),
your toes will always be behind your knee when you adhere to the hip,
calf and ankle rule of thumb.
are also important - very important.
There are many correct ways of using hands and you might choose the
one you personally prefer. It is a general preference of most judges
to see one handed-riding in performance classes but almost all of them
are quick to say that it is only good if done correctly and your horse
performs relaxted and collected in this manner. I would much rather
see a good performance using two hands discreetly and quietly than one-handed
jerky reining. In truth, it is much easier to correctly balance your
horse and his movement with the use of two hands. Most disciplines of
dressage use two hands as well as the majority of English riding. Western
riding on snaffle bit fururity riding is done two handed and finished
western horses are for the most part ridden one-handed. Riding your
Peruvian Horse one-handed in performance classes will definitely give
you an edge if done correctly. If done sloppily or incorrectly it will
only work against you and your horse. One handed riding should always
and only be done in the show ring using your left hand. Equitation classes
should always be ridden one-handed, using the left hand with no fingers
splitting the reins. Elbows should always be against your sides and
no air should be seen between them and your body. When holding the reins
in your left hand, the romal should be held firmly upon your thigh with
the right hand. The romal should not ever be
flopping around loose or just hanging there.
Chin should be up and you should be looking ahead of yourself.
Do not look down to see if your horse is overreaching. This looks very
amateurish and unprofessional. It also shows that you lack confidence
in your abilities and those of your mount. When you are making a circle,
look where you are going but do not look into the circle and lean inwards.
This looks unbalanced and often times throws the horses bending into
his circle off, making a triangle, or worse yet, causing him to drop
his shoulder and hop.
spine. Shoulders back. Toes never forward of the knees. Shoulder, hip,
calf, and heel to make a straight line. Chin up, eyes forward. Hands
(whether one or two and only one-handed in equitation) STILL AND STEADY.
And very importantly, SMILE! A smile denotes both confidence and relaxation.
Judges love to see these qualities in a good rider.